Where Am I?
by B. L. Koller
A thick layer of frost coated the widows of her ship. She’d only been on the planet for a minute or two, but already the temperature began to plummet. Her neck felt stiff from the crash, and the cold wasn’t really doing much to help with that. With a groan, she opened her eyes, and forced herself to look over at the temperature gauge. It had gone from a comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit to thirty five in less than two minutes. And it was only going to get worse from here on out.
I don’t know where I am. Or what any of this really is.
All of this had just been a stupid bet. Who could get a ship up and running first. Where they went didn’t matter. She’d won. Shame that it was one of the only things that remained in her memory.
Must have hit my head pretty hard.
Rapid beeps and clicks were audible as the woman slowly stood. Every muscle in her body seemed to scream at her to stop, but what other option did she have? She turned slowly, and took in her surroundings. A cracked window in the back. Some monitors with numbers that beeps rapidly, and some lights that continued to flash that did little to cease the current pounding in her head.
Her gloved hand felt along her ice blue suit, and dug into her pocket. Maybe they’d contain something that could jog her memory? Alas, there was nothing. Not of any value anyway. Her body had begun to shiver. The temperature continued to plummet. Whether she wanted to or not, it looked as though exiting the ship was the only option. At least, make some sort of effort. The other option was just sit around and freeze to death, and even in her confused state, that option didn’t sound so great. Clearly she had some sort of zest for life, or she wouldn’t have made such a bone headed decision in the first place.
Her boot hit something soft as she made her way towards the door. When she glanced down, a thick black jacket lined with some sort of thick grey and white fur silenced the sound of her heavy leather boots. The girl shrugged, and slipped it on. At this point, any sort of warmth would do her some good, even if it was only a temporary comfort. Or at the very least, she could say she made a valiant effort to keep herself warm instead of succumbing to outright freezing to death. Once again, she checked the pockets of her new clothing item. This time, she at least found something. A pair of green, thick woolen mittens, and a mysterious piece of paper. Her heart skipped a beat as she opened it. Her eyes scanned over it.
Pull string in hood to break heat seal. Will provide warmth up to several hours.
Well, that was useful. In any case, better than nothing, and so she followed the instructions. Warmth immediately began to flood into the suit. Her body finally stopped shivering so violently, and as she pulled up the hood, she felt better. It felt like a warm blanket had been wrapped around her. Time was of the essence now. Time to stop stalling. After one final breath, she opened the shuttle door. It made a whooshing sound, like a sudden gust of wind on a warm summer’s day. Wherever she was, it wasn’t summer’s day here.
Snow swirled all around her. A moment or two went by before her eyes adjusted. Off in the distance somewhere she could see a tall building with some lights in the distance. They changed colors every few steps. As she approached, similar beeping noises to the ones in he now abandoned ship could be heard coming from the strange building. The one with lights that flashed from hues of magenta, ice blue, and a sickly neon green. No crazed, rapid blaring emergency horn baring though. She hoped that it was a good thing. Maybe whoever was in there could help her. Or at least point her in the right direction to getting off this frozen tundra, and on her way home. But where was home? How could she even begin to think about home, when she couldn’t even remember her own name, or how she got here. So many questions, and nearly zero answers.
Shelter is a good sign, though. She hugged her arms around herself. If she was going to remain positive, the little uplifting thoughts would have to be the things keeping her going. The instinct to survive had yet to leave her, and if it was gonna remain that way she’d have to keep looking on the bright side.
It took her approximately fifteen minutes to finally get to the strange light building in the storm. Wind burned her face, and the snow kept getting deeper, and deeper the longer she remained exposed to the cold. The crunching of the snow under her boots had lost its appeal nearly five minutes into the trek. Now that she was standing in front of the building, a way in seemed impossible.
With a yell, she kicked at the door with her heavy, snow covered boot. The only response that came was a large metal clang that could scarcely be heard over the wind. She pulled up her sleeve to check her watch. A small, circular screen. When she pressed the button on the band, the clocks face changed. Her heart rate had slowed down quite a bit since she left the ship. But given the state she woke up in, it was a fair thing to assume that her slowed heart was indeed a good thing after all. She slumped down. Even with the heat from her jacket, it was of little comfort out here. The snow was cold under her bum, but her legs hurt, and she needed to sit down. As she drew her knees to her chest, and buried her face in them, the door slid open with a loud ping!
The girl yelped as her back hit the hard floor. She could feel someone pull her in on her back by the armpits. Lights continued to flash, and hum. They sounded familiar, though she couldn’t exactly recall from where. The word ‘gym’ flashed into her mind, before her whits came back, and snapped her back to reality. She’d stopped moving, and the hands were no longer on her.
“Are you alright?” The voice almost sounded like a croak. Or a crackling. She groaned her reply, and shut her eyes. Now that she was indoors, the lights made her already pounding head hurt more. A pain so sharp and brutal, she couldn’t help but scream.
The last thing she remembered before the world went dark was the prick of a needle, and a warm liquid rushing through her body.
When she came to again, she was vaguely aware of a bed, and the same croaking voice from before, only this time it sounded like there were more than one. Everyone was talking in hushed whispers in a language she did not understand.
“This has to be some sort of bad dream,” She muttered to herself. The voices stopped when the words left her mouth.
“Oh good! You’re awake!”
So much for this being a dream.
She forced herself to open her eyes. She didn’t know what to expect to see when she opened them. But it sure as heck wasn’t a dark blue creature that looked like a cross between a human, and some sort of blue teddy bear. Blue fur covered the bipedal creatures body. She glanced at the hands and gasped. Paws had been replaced with elongated raccoon like hands, also covered in fur. They had soft, little, pink pads. Not unlike the ones you might find on a cat or a dog. It took all her effort not to scream, while simultaneously repress the strangest urge to reach out, and squish the little pads.
“Please do not be afraid,” he strange creature pleaded. It’s ears drooped. “We are friendly here. I promise.”
Maybe it was the fact that a giant bipedal teddy bear was taking to her, or maybe she was just so sick, she didn’t care. Whatever the reason, she trusted them.
“Where am I?”
“Terranivis.” Another voice replied, much gruffer and older sounding than the other.
It didn’t trigger any sort of memory. Not even remotely familiar. The girl frowned, and reached up to feel her pounding head.
“You cracked your skull on our floor,” the gruff voice forced her hand away from her head. “We fixed it for you. You’re welcome.”
She stared at the strange creatures. Even stranger than the creatures, was the room. A green hologram on the chrome wall displayed something she did not understand. Some sort of strange writing that looked more like scratch marks than anything she was familiar with. Upon closer inspection, she realized it wasn’t scratch marks, but snowflakes in various shapes and sizes. Some seemed to be cut in half, while others appeared whole. How anybody could possibly read it was far beyond her comprehension.
“Not even a thank you. Humans are so rude.”
She finally turned to look at the gruff voice, and blinked. More grey than blue, and when they turned to look back at the screen, it reflected back into the fur. “At the very least, we’ve managed to get rid of your hypothermia. Another few minutes out there, girl, and you could have died. You’re lucky we saw you kicking in or door on the cameras. You owe your life to Glac, here.”
“Oh,” She blinked. “Well… um… Thanks, I guess.”
“What’s your name?” The one she could only assume to be Glac put their weird raccoon like hand on her shoulder.
“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out. I’m not even sure how I got here.”
“Well, I think it’s fairly safe to assume you got here by that piece of junk craft you crashed about 10 miles back.”
“Oh hush, Perma! Don’t be so grumpy,” Glac giggled before pulling away. “Don’t mind her. She just doesn’t like unexpected company from neighboring planets. We have others working on your ship now. It may take awhile, but we should have you back home in no time!”
“The sooner the better. We’re running your blood sample through the system. Give us a few hours and we should know who you are, and where to send you. Though you look pretty Earthly to me. So it’s a safe bet. You don’t qualify us as a world anymore anyway. We’re just a dwarf planet according to your primitive technology.”
The girl blinked.
“How did I end up on Pluto…?”
To be continued….